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Salinarium at the Dead Sea. Awarded project by Polish students

Dobrawa Bies
14 of October '20

Architecture students Alexander Blicharski, Olga Gumienna and Marcin Osak created the project Salinarium at the Dead Sea. Their work, which is evidence of the temporality of the surrounding landscape and the human impact on the environment, was awarded in the international Innature 9 competition.

The ninth edition of the international Innature competition organized by the Opengap platform addressed the synergy between architecture and the environment. The organizers were looking for innovative, interesting and committed proposals combining nature and design. Among the awarded works was a project for an observatory called Salinarium by Polish architecture students of Wroclaw University of Technology and TU Delft.

Salinarium nad Morzem
Martwym

The Salinarium project is located at the Dead Sea

© Aleksander Blicharski, Olga Gumienna, Marcin Osak

testimony to change

As the authors say about their idea:

Every year the water level of the Dead Sea drops by one meter. Due to harmful human activity on the Jordan River, this unique landscape and rare geological phenomenon is irrevocably disappearing before our eyes. We may be the last generation to witness its disappearance. Thus, the designed object aims to highlight and expose the process of dematerialization of the Dead Sea, while revealing what is impossible to observe with the naked eye. Here, the architectural object thus seeks to capture the transience of the Dead Sea landscape and contribute to broadening visitors' awareness of the harmfulness of human activities in the context of the natural environment.

Wejście do Salinarium Fragment zewnętrza
Salinarium

The three-dimensional grid that fills the spaces between the modules is also the basis for the formation of salt crystals

© Alexander Blicharski, Olga Gumienna, Marcin Osak

object made of salt crystals

The form of the designed building refers to the process of salt crystal formation. The authors observed that each crystal is an organized group of salt molecules, and each of them obtains the same form in the process of shaping. Hence, the composition and construction of the building were based on a similar principle. The same module, reproduced vertically at different angles, creates an object designed according to the rules of salt crystal formation. The three-dimensional grid filling the spaces between the modules is also the basis for the formation of salt crystals, acting like a scaffold. Thus, in the building, salt covers not only the walls, but entire paths, stairs and ceilings. As the Dead Sea evaporates, the outer structure of the observatory will be covered with salt crystals.

The form of the designed building refers to the process of salt crystal formation

© Alexander Blicharski, Olga Gumienna, Marcin Osak

According to the young architects:

The building may soon remain the only evidence of the landscape that once existed. By 2050, most of the Dead Sea territory will have disappeared irretrievably, leaving only the salt structure on the building's facade. Similarly, the building will becomean indicator of the disappearing sea, and the salt deposited on the structure will become an indicator of the previous water level.

Eksperyment

process of salt structure formation

© Alexander Blicharski, Olga Gumienna, Marcin Osak

A visit to the building begins from the shoreline level. The entrance, carved into the ground, keeps the scenic line of sight of the landscape intact. To reach the lowest floor of the building, use an underwater tunnel. Moving above the surface of the water, the user finds himself on the inside of the salt structure. From the top of the structure there is a view of the shrinking sea shoreline and the desert landscape moving ever closer to the building. The structure is evidence of the temporality of the landscape and the impact of man on nature.

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